Part 3 Chapter 2

He was lying on something that felt like a camp bed, except that it was higher off the ground and that he was fixed down in some way so that he could not move. Light that seemed stronger than usual was falling on his face. O'Brien was standing at his side, looking down at him intently. At the other side of him stood a man in a white coat, holding a hypodermic syringe.

Even after his eyes were open he took in his surroundings only gradually. He had the impression of swimming up into this room from some quite different world, a sort of underwater world far beneath it. How long he had been down there he did not know. Since the moment when they arrested him he had not seen darkness or daylight. Besides, his memories were not continuous. There had been times when consciousness, even the sort of consciousness that one has in sleep, had stopped dead and started again after a blank interval. But whether the intervals were of days or weeks or only seconds, there was no way of knowing.

With that first blow on the elbow the nightmare had started. Later he was to realize that all that then happened was merely a preliminary, a routine interrogation to which nearly all prisoners were subjected. There was a long range of crimes -- espionage, sabotage, and the like -- to which everyone had to confess as a matter of course. The confession was a formality, though the torture was real. How many times he had been beaten, how long the beatings had continued, he could not remember. Always there were five or six men in black uniforms at him simultaneously. Sometimes it was fists, sometimes it was truncheons, sometimes it was steel rods, sometimes it was boots. There were times when he rolled about the floor, as shameless as an animal, writhing his body this way and that in an endless, hopeless effort to dodge the kicks, and simply inviting more and yet more kicks, in his ribs, in his belly, on his elbows, on his shins, in his groin, in his testicles, on the bone at the base of his spine. There were times when it went on and on until the cruel, wicked, unforgivable thing seemed to him not that the guards continued to beat him but that he could not force himself into losing consciousness. There were times when his nerve so forsook him that he began shouting for mercy even before the beating began, when the mere sight of a fist drawn back for a blow was enough to make him pour forth a confession of real and imaginary crimes. There were other times when he started out with the resolve of confessing nothing, when every word had to be forced out of him between gasps of pain, and there were times when he feebly tried to compromise, when he said to himself: 'I will confess, but not yet. I must hold out till the pain becomes unbearable. Three more kicks, two more kicks, and then I will tell them what they want.' Sometimes he was beaten till he could hardly stand, then flung like a sack of potatoes on to the stone floor of a cell, left to recuperate for a few hours, and then taken out and beaten again. There were also longer periods of recovery. He remembered them dimly, because they were spent chiefly in sleep or stupor. He remembered a cell with a plank bed, a sort of shelf sticking out from the wall, and a tin wash-basin, and meals of hot soup and bread and sometimes coffee. He remembered a surly barber arriving to scrape his chin and crop his hair, and businesslike, unsympathetic men in white coats feeling his pulse, tapping his reflexes, turning up his eyelids, running harsh fingers over him in search for broken bones, and shooting needles into his arm to make him sleep.

The beatings grew less frequent, and became mainly a threat, a horror to which he could be sent back at any moment when his answers were unsatisfactory. His questioners now were not ruffians in black uniforms but Party intellectuals, little rotund men with quick movements and flashing spectacles, who worked on him in relays over periods which lasted -- he thought, he could not be sure -- ten or twelve hours at a stretch. These other questioners saw to it that he was in constant slight pain, but it was not chiefly pain that they relied on. They slapped his face, wrung his ears, pulled his hair, made him stand on one leg, refused him leave to urinate, shone glaring lights in his face until his eyes ran with water; but the aim of this was simply to humiliate him and destroy his power of arguing and reasoning. Their real weapon was the merciless questioning that went on and on, hour after hour, tripping him up, laying traps for him, twisting everything that he said, convicting him at every step of lies and self-contradiction until he began weeping as much from shame as from nervous fatigue. Sometimes he would weep half a dozen times in a single session. Most of the time they screamed abuse at him and threatened at every hesitation to deliver him over to the guards again; but sometimes they would suddenly change their tune, call him comrade, appeal to him in the name of Ingsoc and Big Brother, and ask him sorrowfully whether even now he had not enough loyalty to the Party left to make him wish to undo the evil he had done. When his nerves were in rags after hours of questioning, even this appeal could reduce him to snivelling tears. In the end the nagging voices broke him down more completely than the boots and fists of the guards. He became simply a mouth that uttered, a hand that signed, whatever was demanded of him. His sole concern was to find out what they wanted him to confess, and then confess it quickly, before the bullying started anew. He confessed to the assassination of eminent Party members, the distribution of seditious pamphlets, embezzlement of public funds, sale of military secrets, sabotage of every kind. He confessed that he had been a spy in the pay of the Eastasian government as far back as 1968. He confessed that he was a religious believer, an admirer of capitalism, and a sexual pervert. He confessed that he had murdered his wife, although he knew, and his questioners must have known, that his wife was still alive. He confessed that for years he had been in personal touch with Goldstein and had been a member of an underground organization which had included almost every human being he had ever known. It was easier to confess everything and implicate everybody. Besides, in a sense it was all true. It was true that he had been the enemy of the Party, and in the eyes of the Party there was no distinction between the thought and the deed.

There were also memories of another kind. They stood out in his mind disconnectedly, like pictures with blackness all round them.

He was in a cell which might have been either dark or light, because he could see nothing except a pair of eyes. Near at hand some kind of instrument was ticking slowly and regularly. The eyes grew larger and more luminous. Suddenly he floated out of his seat, dived into the eyes, and was swallowed up.

He was strapped into a chair surrounded by dials, under dazzling lights. A man in a white coat was reading the dials. There was a tramp of heavy boots outside. The door clanged open. The waxed-faced officer marched in, followed by two guards.

'Room 101,' said the officer.

The man in the white coat did not turn round. He did not look at Winston either; he was looking only at the dials.

He was rolling down a mighty corridor, a kilometre wide, full of glorious, golden light, roaring with laughter and shouting out confessions at the top of his voice. He was confessing everything, even the things he had succeeded in holding back under the torture. He was relating the entire history of his life to an audience who knew it already. With him were the guards, the other questioners, the men in white coats, O'Brien, Julia, Mr Charrington, all rolling down the corridor together and shouting with laughter. Some dreadful thing which had lain embedded in the future had somehow been skipped over and had not happened. Everything was all right, there was no more pain, the last detail of his life was laid bare, understood, forgiven.

He was starting up from the plank bed in the half-certainty that he had heard O'Brien's voice. All through his interrogation, although he had never seen him, he had had the feeling that O'Brien was at his elbow, just out of sight. It was O'Brien who was directing everything. It was he who set the guards on to Winston and who prevented them from killing him. It was he who decided when Winston should scream with pain, when he should have a respite, when he should be fed, when he should sleep, when the drugs should be pumped into his arm. It was he who asked the questions and suggested the answers. He was the tormentor, he was the protector, he was the inquisitor, he was the friend. And once -- Winston could not remember whether it was in drugged sleep, or in normal sleep, or even in a moment of wakefulness -- a voice murmured in his ear: 'Don't worry, Winston; you are in my keeping. For seven years I have watched over you. Now the turning-point has come. I shall save you, I shall make you perfect.' He was not sure whether it was O'Brien's voice; but it was the same voice that had said to him, 'We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness,' in that other dream, seven years ago.

He did not remember any ending to his interrogation. There was a period of blackness and then the cell, or room, in which he now was had gradually materialized round him. He was almost flat on his back, and unable to move. His body was held down at every essential point. Even the back of his head was gripped in some manner. O'Brien was looking down at him gravely and rather sadly. His face, seen from below, looked coarse and worn, with pouches under the eyes and tired lines from nose to chin. He was older than Winston had thought him; he was perhaps forty-eight or fifty. Under his hand there was a dial with a lever on top and figures running round the face.

'I told you,' said O'Brien, 'that if we met again it would be here.'

'Yes,' said Winston.

Without any warning except a slight movement of O'Brien's hand, a wave of pain flooded his body. It was a frightening pain, because he could not see what was happening, and he had the feeling that some mortal injury was being done to him. He did not know whether the thing was really happening, or whether the effect was electrically produced; but his body was being wrenched out of shape, the joints were being slowly torn apart. Although the pain had brought the sweat out on his forehead, the worst of all was the fear that his backbone was about to snap. He set his teeth and breathed hard through his nose, trying to keep silent as long as possible.

'You are afraid,' said O'Brien, watching his face, 'that in another moment something is going to break. Your especial fear is that it will be your backbone. You have a vivid mental picture of the vertebrae snapping apart and the spinal fluid dripping out of them. That is what you are thinking, is it not, Winston?'

Winston did not answer. O'Brien drew back the lever on the dial. The wave of pain receded almost as quickly as it had come.

'That was forty,' said O'Brien. 'You can see that the numbers on this dial run up to a hundred. Will you please remember, throughout our conversation, that I have it in my power to inflict pain on you at any moment and to whatever degree I choose? If you tell me any lies, or attempt to prevaricate in any way, or even fall below your usual level of intelligence, you will cry out with pain, instantly. Do you understand that?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien's manner became less severe. He resettled his spectacles thoughtfully, and took a pace or two up and down. When he spoke his voice was gentle and patient. He had the air of a doctor, a teacher, even a priest, anxious to explain and persuade rather than to punish.

'I am taking trouble with you, Winston,' he said, 'because you are worth trouble. You know perfectly well what is the matter with you. You have known it for years, though you have fought against the knowledge. You are mentally deranged. You suffer from a defective memory. You are unable to remember real events and you persuade yourself that you remember other events which never happened. Fortunately it is curable. You have never cured yourself of it, because you did not choose to. There was a small effort of the will that you were not ready to make. Even now, I am well aware, you are clinging to your disease under the impression that it is a virtue. Now we will take an example. At this moment, which power is Oceania at war with?'

'When I was arrested, Oceania was at war with Eastasia.'

'With Eastasia. Good. And Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia, has it not?'

Winston drew in his breath. He opened his mouth to speak and then did not speak. He could not take his eyes away from the dial.

'The truth, please, Winston. Your truth. Tell me what you think you remember.'

'I remember that until only a week before I was arrested, we were not at war with Eastasia at all. We were in alliance with them. The war was against Eurasia. That had lasted for four years. Before that --'

O'Brien stopped him with a movement of the hand.

'Another example,' he said. 'Some years ago you had a very serious delusion indeed. You believed that three men, three onetime Party members named Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford men who were executed for treachery and sabotage after making the fullest possible confession -- were not guilty of the crimes they were charged with. You believed that you had seen unmistakable documentary evidence proving that their confessions were false. There was a certain photograph about which you had a hallucination. You believed that you had actually held it in your hands. It was a photograph something like this.'

An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between O'Brien's fingers. For perhaps five seconds it was within the angle of Winston's vision. It was a photograph, and there was no question of its identity. It was the photograph. It was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed. For only an instant it was before his eyes, then it was out of sight again. But he had seen it, unquestionably he had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so much as a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he had even forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the photograph in his fingers again, or at least to see it.

'It exists!' he cried.

'No,' said O'Brien.

He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall. O'Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. O'Brien turned away from the wall.

'Ashes,' he said. 'Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.'

'But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.'

'I do not remember it,' said O'Brien.

Winston's heart sank. That was doublethink. He had a feeling of deadly helplessness. If he could have been certain that O'Brien was lying, it would not have seemed to matter. But it was perfectly possible that O'Brien had really forgotten the photograph. And if so, then already he would have forgotten his denial of remembering it, and forgotten the act of forgetting. How could one be sure that it was simple trickery? Perhaps that lunatic dislocation in the mind could really happen: that was the thought that defeated him.

O'Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.

'There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,' he said. 'Repeat it, if you please.'

'"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,"' repeated Winston obediently.

'"Who controls the present controls the past,"' said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. 'Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?'

Again the feeling of helplessness descended upon Winston. His eyes flitted towards the dial. He not only did not know whether 'yes' or 'no' was the answer that would save him from pain; he did not even know which answer he believed to be the true one.

O'Brien smiled faintly. 'You are no metaphysician, Winston,' he said. 'Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?'

'No.'

'Then where does the past exist, if at all?'

'In records. It is written down.'

'In records. And --?'

'In the mind. In human memories.'

'In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?'

'But how can you stop people remembering things?' cried Winston again momentarily forgetting the dial. 'It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!'

O'Brien's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on the dial.

'On the contrary,' he said, 'you have not controlled it. That is what has brought you here. You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.'

He paused for a few moments, as though to allow what he had been saying to sink in.

'Do you remember,' he went on, 'writing in your diary, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four"?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien held up his left hand, its back towards Winston, with the thumb hidden and the four fingers extended.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'

'Four.'

'And if the party says that it is not four but five -- then how many?'

'Four.'

The word ended in a gasp of pain. The needle of the dial had shot up to fifty-five. The sweat had sprung out all over Winston's body. The air tore into his lungs and issued again in deep groans which even by clenching his teeth he could not stop. O'Brien watched him, the four fingers still extended. He drew back the lever. This time the pain was only slightly eased.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four.'

The needle went up to sixty.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four! Four! What else can I say? Four!'

The needle must have risen again, but he did not look at it. The heavy, stern face and the four fingers filled his vision. The fingers stood up before his eyes like pillars, enormous, blurry, and seeming to vibrate, but unmistakably four.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four! Stop it, stop it! How can you go on? Four! Four!'

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Five! Five! Five!'

'No, Winston, that is no use. You are lying. You still think there are four. How many fingers, please?'

'Four! five! Four! Anything you like. Only stop it, stop the pain!'

Abruptly he was sitting up with O'Brien's arm round his shoulders. He had perhaps lost consciousness for a few seconds. The bonds that had held his body down were loosened. He felt very cold, he was shaking uncontrollably, his teeth were chattering, the tears were rolling down his cheeks. For a moment he clung to O'Brien like a baby, curiously comforted by the heavy arm round his shoulders. He had the feeling that O'Brien was his protector, that the pain was something that came from outside, from some other source, and that it was O'Brien who would save him from it.

'You are a slow learner, Winston,' said O'Brien gently.

'How can I help it?' he blubbered. 'How can I help seeing what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.'

'Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.'

He laid Winston down on the bed. The grip of his limbs tightened again, but the pain had ebbed away and the trembling had stopped, leaving him merely weak and cold. O'Brien motioned with his head to the man in the white coat, who had stood immobile throughout the proceedings. The man in the white coat bent down and looked closely into Winston's eyes, felt his pulse, laid an ear against his chest, tapped here and there, then he nodded to O'Brien.

'Again,' said O'Brien.

The pain flowed into Winston's body. The needle must be at seventy, seventy-five. He had shut his eyes this time. He knew that the fingers were still there, and still four. All that mattered was somehow to stay alive until the spasm was over. He had ceased to notice whether he was crying out or not. The pain lessened again. He opened his eyes. O'Brien had drawn back the lever.

'How many fingers, Winston?'

'Four. I suppose there are four. I would see five if I could. I am trying to see five.'

'Which do you wish: to persuade me that you see five, or really to see them?'

'Really to see them.'

'Again,' said O'Brien.

Perhaps the needle was eighty -- ninety. Winston could not intermittently remember why the pain was happening. Behind his screwed-up eyelids a forest of fingers seemed to be moving in a sort of dance, weaving in and out, disappearing behind one another and reappearing again. He was trying to count them, he could not remember why. He knew only that it was impossible to count them, and that this was somehow due to the mysterious identity between five and four. The pain died down again. When he opened his eyes it was to find that he was still seeing the same thing. Innumerable fingers, like moving trees, were still streaming past in either direction, crossing and recrossing. He shut his eyes again.

'How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?'

'I don't know. I don't know. You will kill me if you do that again. Four, five, six -- in all honesty I don't know.'

'Better,' said O'Brien.

A needle slid into Winston's arm. Almost in the same instant a blissful, healing warmth spread all through his body. The pain was already half-forgotten. He opened his eyes and looked up gratefully at O'Brien. At sight of the heavy, lined face, so ugly and so intelligent, his heart seemed to turn over. If he could have moved he would have stretched out a hand and laid it on O'Brien arm. He had never loved him so deeply as at this moment, and not merely because he had stopped the pain. The old feeling, that it bottom it did not matter whether O'Brien was a friend or an enemy, had come back. O'Brien was a person who could be talked to. Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood. O'Brien had tortured him to the edge of lunacy, and in a little while, it was certain, he would send him to his death. It made no difference. In some sense that went deeper than friendship, they were intimates: somewhere or other, although the actual words might never be spoken, there was a place where they could meet and talk. O'Brien was looking down at him with an expression which suggested that the same thought might be in his own mind. When he spoke it was in an easy, conversational tone.

'Do you know where you are, Winston?' he said.

'I don't know. I can guess. In the Ministry of Love.'

'Do you know how long you have been here?'

'I don't know. Days, weeks, months -- I think it is months.'

'And why do you imagine that we bring people to this place?'

'To make them confess.'

'No, that is not the reason. Try again.'

'To punish them.'

'No!' exclaimed O'Brien. His voice had changed extraordinarily, and his face had suddenly become both stern and animated. 'No! Not merely to extract your confession, not to punish you. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane! Will you understand, Winston, that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands uncured? We are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have committed. The Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them. Do you understand what I mean by that?'

He was bending over Winston. His face looked enormous because of its nearness, and hideously ugly because it was seen from below. Moreover it was filled with a sort of exaltation, a lunatic intensity. Again Winston's heart shrank. If it had been possible he would have cowered deeper into the bed. He felt certain that O'Brien was about to twist the dial out of sheer wantonness. At this moment, however, O'Brien turned away. He took a pace or two up and down. Then he continued less vehemently:

'The first thing for you to understand is that in this place there are no martyrdoms. You have read of the religious persecutions of the past. In the Middle Ages there was the Inquisition. It was a failure. It set out to eradicate heresy, and ended by perpetuating it. For every heretic it burned at the stake, thousands of others rose up. Why was that? Because the Inquisition killed its enemies in the open, and killed them while they were still unrepentant: in fact, it killed them because they were unrepentant. Men were dying because they would not abandon their true beliefs. Naturally all the glory belonged to the victim and all the shame to the Inquisitor who burned him. Later, in the twentieth century, there were the totalitarians, as they were called. There were the German Nazis and the Russian Communists. The Russians persecuted heresy more cruelly than the Inquisition had done. And they imagined that they had learned from the mistakes of the past; they knew, at any rate, that one must not make martyrs. Before they exposed their victims to public trial, they deliberately set themselves to destroy their dignity. They wore them down by torture and solitude until they were despicable, cringing wretches, confessing whatever was put into their mouths, covering themselves with abuse, accusing and sheltering behind one another, whimpering for mercy. And yet after only a few years the same thing had happened over again. The dead men had become martyrs and their degradation was forgotten. Once again, why was it? In the first place, because the confessions that they had made were obviously extorted and untrue. We do not make mistakes of that kind. All the confessions that are uttered here are true. We make them true. And above all we do not allow the dead to rise up against us. You must stop imagining that posterity will vindicate you, Winston. Posterity will never hear of you. You will be lifted clean out from the stream of history. We shall turn you into gas and pour you into the stratosphere. Nothing will remain of you, not a name in a register, not a memory in a living brain. You will be annihilated in the past as well as in the future. You will never have existed.'

Then why bother to torture me? thought Winston, with a momentary bitterness. O'Brien checked his step as though Winston had uttered the thought aloud. His large ugly face came nearer, with the eyes a little narrowed.

'You are thinking,' he said, 'that since we intend to destroy you utterly, so that nothing that you say or do can make the smallest difference -- in that case, why do we go to the trouble of interrogating you first? That is what you were thinking, was it not?'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien smiled slightly. 'You are a flaw in the pattern, Winston. You are a stain that must be wiped out. Did I not tell you just now that we are different from the persecutors of the past? We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us: so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be. Even in the instant of death we cannot permit any deviation. In the old days the heretic walked to the stake still a heretic, proclaiming his heresy, exulting in it. Even the victim of the Russian purges could carry rebellion locked up in his skull as he walked down the passage waiting for the bullet. But we make the brain perfect before we blow it out. The command of the old despotisms was "Thou shalt not". The command of the totalitarians was "Thou shalt". Our command is "Thou art". No one whom we bring to this place ever stands out against us. Everyone is washed clean. Even those three miserable traitors in whose innocence you once believed -- Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford -- in the end we broke them down. I took part in their interrogation myself. I saw them gradually worn down, whimpering, grovelling, weeping -- and in the end it was not with pain or fear, only with penitence. By the time we had finished with them they were only the shells of men. There was nothing left in them except sorrow for what they had done, and love of Big Brother. It was touching to see how they loved him. They begged to be shot quickly, so that they could die while their minds were still clean.'

His voice had grown almost dreamy. The exaltation, the lunatic enthusiasm, was still in his face. He is not pretending, thought Winston, he is not a hypocrite, he believes every word he says. What most oppressed him was the consciousness of his own intellectual inferiority. He watched the heavy yet graceful form strolling to and fro, in and out of the range of his vision. O'Brien was a being in all ways larger than himself. There was no idea that he had ever had, or could have, that O'Brien had not long ago known, examined, and rejected. His mind contained Winston's mind. But in that case how could it be true that O'Brien was mad? It must be he, Winston, who was mad. O'Brien halted and looked down at him. His voice had grown stern again.

'Do not imagine that you will save yourself, Winston, however completely you surrender to us. No one who has once gone astray is ever spared. And even if we chose to let you live out the natural term of your life, still you would never escape from us. What happens to you here is for ever. Understand that in advance. We shall crush you down to the point from which there is no coming back. Things will happen to you from which you could not recover, if you lived a thousand years. Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.'

He paused and signed to the man in the white coat. Winston was aware of some heavy piece of apparatus being pushed into place behind his head. O'Brien had sat down beside the bed, so that his face was almost on a level with Winston's.

'Three thousand,' he said, speaking over Winston's head to the man in the white coat.

Two soft pads, which felt slightly moist, clamped themselves against Winston's temples. He quailed. There was pain coming, a new kind of pain. O'Brien laid a hand reassuringly, almost kindly, on his.

'This time it will not hurt,' he said. 'Keep your eyes fixed on mine.'

At this moment there was a devastating explosion, or what seemed like an explosion, though it was not certain whether there was any noise. There was undoubtedly a blinding flash of light. Winston was not hurt, only prostrated. Although he had already been lying on his back when the thing happened, he had a curious feeling that he had been knocked into that position. A terrific painless blow had flattened him out. Also something had happened inside his head. As his eyes regained their focus he remembered who he was, and where he was, and recognized the face that was gazing into his own; but somewhere or other there was a large patch of emptiness, as though a piece had been taken out of his brain.

'It will not last,' said O'Brien. 'Look me in the eyes. What country is Oceania at war with?'

Winston thought. He knew what was meant by Oceania and that he himself was a citizen of Oceania. He also remembered Eurasia and Eastasia; but who was at war with whom he did not know. In fact he had not been aware that there was any war.

'I don't remember.'

'Oceania is at war with Eastasia. Do you remember that now?'

'Yes.'

'Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Since the beginning of your life, since the beginning of the Party, since the beginning of history, the war has continued without a break, always the same war. Do you remember that?'

'Yes.'

'Eleven years ago you created a legend about three men who had been condemned to death for treachery. You pretended that you had seen a piece of paper which proved them innocent. No such piece of paper ever existed. You invented it, and later you grew to believe in it. You remember now the very moment at which you first invented it. Do you remember that?'

'Yes.'

'Just now I held up the fingers of my hand to you. You saw five fingers. Do you remember that?'

'Yes.'

O'Brien held up the fingers of his left hand, with the thumb concealed.

'There are five fingers there. Do you see five fingers?'

'Yes.'

And he did see them, for a fleeting instant, before the scenery of his mind changed. He saw five fingers, and there was no deformity. Then everything was normal again, and the old fear, the hatred, and the bewilderment came crowding back again. But there had been a moment -- he did not know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps -- of luminous certainty, when each new suggestion of O'Brien's had filled up a patch of emptiness and become absolute truth, and when two and two could have been three as easily as five, if that were what was needed. It had faded but before O'Brien had dropped his hand; but though he could not recapture it, he could remember it, as one remembers a vivid experience at some period of one's life when one was in effect a different person.

'You see now,' said O'Brien, 'that it is at any rate possible.'

'Yes,' said Winston.

O'Brien stood up with a satisfied air. Over to his left Winston saw the man in the white coat break an ampoule and draw back the plunger of a syringe. O'Brien turned to Winston with a smile. In almost the old manner he resettled his spectacles on his nose.

'Do you remember writing in your diary,' he said, 'that it did not matter whether I was a friend or an enemy, since I was at least a person who understood you and could be talked to? You were right. I enjoy talking to you. Your mind appeals to me. It resembles my own mind except that you happen to be insane. Before we bring the session to an end you can ask me a few questions, if you choose.'

'Any question I like?'

'Anything.' He saw that Winston's eyes were upon the dial. 'It is switched off. What is your first question?'

'What have you done with Julia?' said Winston.

O'Brien smiled again. 'She betrayed you, Winston. Immediately -- unreservedly. I have seldom seen anyone come over to us so promptly. You would hardly recognize her if you saw her. All her rebelliousness, her deceit, her folly, her dirty-mindedness -- everything has been burned out of her. It was a perfect conversion, a textbook case.'

'You tortured her?'

O'Brien left this unanswered. 'Next question,' he said.

'Does Big Brother exist?'

'Of course he exists. The Party exists. Big Brother is the embodiment of the Party.'

'Does he exist in the same way as I exist?'

'You do not exist,' said O'Brien.

Once again the sense of helplessness assailed him. He knew, or he could imagine, the arguments which proved his own nonexistence; but they were nonsense, they were only a play on words. Did not the statement, 'You do not exist', contain a logical absurdity? But what use was it to say so? His mind shrivelled as he thought of the unanswerable, mad arguments with which O'Brien would demolish him.

'I think I exist,' he said wearily. 'I am conscious of my own identity. I was born and I shall die. I have arms and legs. I occupy a particular point in space. No other solid object can occupy the same point simultaneously. In that sense, does Big Brother exist?'

'It is of no importance. He exists.'

'Will Big Brother ever die?'

'Of course not. How could he die? Next question.'

'Does the Brotherhood exist?'

'That, Winston, you will never know. If we choose to set you free when we have finished with you, and if you live to be ninety years old, still you will never learn whether the answer to that question is Yes or No. As long as you live it will be an unsolved riddle in your mind.'

Winston lay silent. His breast rose and fell a little faster. He still had not asked the question that had come into his mind the first. He had got to ask it, and yet it was as though his tongue would not utter it. There was a trace of amusement in O'Brien's face. Even his spectacles seemed to wear an ironical gleam. He knows, thought Winston suddenly, he knows what I am going to ask! At the thought the words burst out of him:

'What is in Room 101?'

The expression on O'Brien's face did not change. He answered drily:

'You know what is in Room 101, Winston. Everyone knows what is in Room 101.'

He raised a finger to the man in the white coat. Evidently the session was at an end. A needle jerked into Winston's arm. He sank almost instantly into deep sleep.

他躺在一张好象是行军床那样的床上,不过离地面很高,而且身上好象给绑住了,使他动弹不得。比平时更强的灯光照在他的脸上。奥勃良站在旁边,注意地低头看着他。

另外一边站着一个穿白大褂的人,手中拿着打针的注射器。

即使在睁开眼睛以后,他也是慢慢地才看清周围的环境的。他有一种感觉,好象自已是从一个完全不同的世界,一个深深的海底世界,游泳游到这个房间中来的。他在下面多久,他不知道。自从他们逮捕他以来,他就没有见过白天或黑夜。而且他的记忆也不是持续的。常常有这样的时候,意识——甚至在睡觉中也有的那种意识,忽然停止了,过了一段空白间隙后才恢复,但是这一段空白间隙究竟是几天,几星期,还是不过几秒钟,就没法知道。

在手肘遭到那一击之后,噩梦就开始了。后来他才明白,当时接着发生的一切事情只不过是一场开锣戏,一种例行公事式的审讯,几乎所有犯人都要过一遍。人人都得供认各种各样的罪行——刺探情报、破坏,等等。招供不过是个形式,但拷打却是货真价实的。他给打过多少次、每次拷打多久,他都记不得了。不过每次总有五六个穿黑制服的人同时向他扑来。有时是拳头,有时是橡皮棍,有时是铁条,有时是皮靴。他常常在地上打滚,象畜生一样不讲羞耻,蜷缩着身子闪来闪去,想躲开拳打脚赐,但是这是一点也没有希望的,只会招来更多的脚踢,踢在他的肋骨上,肚子上,手肘上,腰上,腿上,下腹上,睾丸上,脊梁骨上。这样没完没了的拳打脚踢有时持续到使他觉得最残酷的、可恶的、不可原谅的事情,不是那些警卫继续打他,而是他竟无法使自己失去意识昏过去。有时候他神经紧张得还没有开始打他就大声叫喊求饶,或者一见到拔出拳头来就自动招供了各种各样真真假假的罪行。也有的时候他下定决心什么都不招,实在痛不过时才说一言半语,或者他徒然地想来个折衷,对自已这么说:“我可以招供,但还不到时候。一定要坚持到实在忍不住痛的时候。再踢三脚,再踢两脚,我才把他们要我说的话说给他们听。”有时他给打得站不住脚,象一袋土豆似的掉在牢房里的石头地上,歇息了几个小时以后,又给带出去痛打。也有时间歇时间比较长。他记不清了,因为都是在睡梦中或昏晕中渡过的。他记得有一间牢房里有一张木板床,墙上有个架子,还有一只洗脸盆,送来的饭是热汤和面包,有时还有咖啡。他记得有个脾气乖戾的理发员来给他刮胡子剪头发,还有一个一本正经、没有感情的白衣护士来试他的脉搏,验他的神经反应,翻他的眼皮,粗糙的手指在他身上摸来摸去看有没有骨头折断,在他的胳膊上打针,让他昏睡过去。

拷打不如以前频繁了,主要成了一种威胁,如果他的答复不够让他们满意就用敲打来恐吓他。拷问他的人现在已不再是穿黑制服的粗汉,而是党内知识分子,都是矮矮的小胖子,动作敏捷,目戴眼镜,分班来对付他。有时一班持续达十几个小时,究竟多久,他也弄不清楚。这些拷问他的人总是使他不断吃到一些小苦头,但是他们主要不是依靠这个。

他们打他耳光,拧他耳朵,揪他头发,要他用一只脚站着,不让他撒尿,用强烈的灯光照他的脸,一直到眼睛里流出泪水。但是这一切的目的不过是侮辱他,打垮他的辩论说理的能力。他们的真正厉害的武器还是一个小时接着一个小时地、无休无止地无情拷问他,使他说漏了嘴,让他掉入圈套,歪曲他说的每一句话,抓住他的每一句假话和每一句自相矛盾的话,一直到他哭了起来,与其说是因为感到耻辱,不如说是因为神经过度疲劳。有时一次拷问他要哭五、六次。他们多半是大声辱骂他,稍有迟疑就扬言要把他交还给警卫去拷打。但是他们有时也会突然改变腔调,叫他同志,要他看在英社和老大哥面上,假惺惺地问他对党到底还有没有半点忠诚,改正自己做过的坏事。在经过好几小时的拷问而精疲力尽之后,甚至听到这样的软话,他也会泪涕交加。终于这种喋喋不休的盘问比警卫的拳打脚踢还要奏效,使他完全屈服。凡是要他说什么话,签什么字,他都一概遵命。他一心只想弄清楚的是他们要他招认什么。这样他好马上招认,免得吃眼前亏。他招认暗杀党的领导,散发煽动反叛的小册子,侵吞公款,出卖军事机密,从事各种各样的破坏活动。他招认早在一九六八年就是东亚国政府豢养的间谍。他招认他笃信宗教,崇拜资本主义,是个老色鬼。他招认杀了老婆,尽管他自己明白,拷问的人也明白,他的老婆还活着。他招认多年以来就同果尔德施坦因有个人联系,是个地下组织的成员。该组织包括了他所认识的每一个人。把什么东西都招认,把什么人都拉下水,是很容易的事。况且,在某种意义上,也是合乎事实的。他的确是党的敌人,因为在党的眼里,思想和行为没有差别。

还有另外一种记忆,在他的脑海里互无关联地出现,好象是一幅幅的照片,照片四周一片漆黑。

他在一个牢房里,可能是黑的,也可能有亮光,因为他只看见一双眼睛。附近有一个仪器在慢慢地准确地滴嗒响着。眼睛越来越大,越来越亮。突然他腾空而起,跳进眼睛里,给吞噬掉了。

他给绑在一把椅子上,四周都有仪表,灯光强得耀眼。

一个穿白大褂的人在观看仪表。外面一阵沉重的脚步声。门打开了。那个蜡像一般的军官走了进来,后面跟着两个警卫。

“101号房。”那个军官说。

白大褂没有转身。他也没有看温斯顿;他只是在看仪表。

他给推到一条很大的走廊里,有一公里宽,尽是金黄色灿烂的光,他的嗓门很高,大声笑着,招着供。他什么都招认,甚至在拷打下仍没有招出来的东西都招认了。他把他的全部生平都向听众说了,而这些听众早已知道这一切了。同他在一起的还有警卫,其他拷问者,穿白大褂的人,奥勃良,裘莉亚,却林顿先生,都一起在走廊里经过,大声哭着。

潜伏在未来的可怕的事,却给跳过去了,没有发生。一切太平无事,不再有痛楚,他的一生全部都摆了出来,得到了谅解和宽恕。

他在木板床上要坐起身来,好象觉得听到奥勃良的谈话声。在整个拷问的过程中,他虽然从来没有看见过奥勃良,但是他有这样的感觉,觉得奥勃良一直在他身旁,只是没有让他看见而已。奥勃良是这一切事情的总指挥。派警卫打他,又不让他们打死他,是奥勃良。决定什么时候该让温斯顿痛得尖叫,什么时候该让他缓一口气,什么时候该让他吃饭,什么时候该让他睡觉,什么时候该给他打针;提出问题,暗示要什么答复的,也是奥勃良。他既是拷打者,又是保护者;既是审问者,又是朋友。有一次,温斯顿记不得是在打了麻药针睡着了以后,还是正常睡着了以后,还是暂时醒来的时候,他听到耳边有人低声说:“别担心,温斯顿;你现在由我看管。我观察你已有七年。现在到了转折点。我要救你,要使你成为完人。”他不知道这是不是奥勃良的说话声,但是这同七年以前在另外一个梦境中告诉他“我们将在没有黑暗的地方相会”的说话声是同一个人的声音。

他不记得拷问是怎样结束的。有一个阶段的黑暗,接着就是他现在所在的那个牢房,或者说房间,逐渐在他四周变得清楚起来。他完全处于仰卧状态,不能移动。他的身体在每个要紧的节骨眼上都给牵制住了,甚至他的后脑勺似乎也是用什么东西抓住似的。奥勃良低头看着他,神态严肃,很是悲哀。他的脸从下面望上去,皮肤粗糙,神情憔悴,眼睛下面有好几道圈儿,鼻子到下巴颏儿有好几条皱纹。他比温斯顿所想象的要老得多了,大概五十来岁。他的手的下面有一个仪表,上面有个杠杆,仪表的表面有一圈数字。

“我告诉过你,”奥勃良说,“要是我们再见到,就是在这里。”

“是的,”温斯顿说。

奥勃良的手微动了一下,此外就没有任何别的预告,温斯顿全身突然感到一阵痛。这阵痛很怕人,因为他看不清是怎么一回事,只觉得对他进行了致命的伤害。他不知道是真的这样,还是用电的效果。但是他的身体给扒拉开来,不成形状,每个关节都给慢慢地扳开了。他的额头上痛得出了汗,但是最糟糕的还是担心脊梁骨要断。他咬紧牙关,通过鼻孔呼吸,尽可能地不作出声来。

“你害怕,”奥勃良看着他的脸说,“再过一会儿有什么东西要断了。你特别害怕这是你的脊梁骨。你的心里很逼真地可以看到脊椎裂开,髓液一滴一滴地流出来。温斯顿,你现在想的是不是就是这个?”

温斯顿没有回答。奥勃良把仪表上的杠杆拉回去。阵痛很快消退,几乎同来时一样快。

“这还只有四十。”奥勃良说:“你可以看到,表面上的数字最高达一百。因此在我们谈话的时候,请你始终记住,我有能力随时随地都可以教你感到多痛就多痛。如果你向我说谎,或者不论想怎么样搪塞,或者甚至说的不符合你平时的智力水平,你都会马上痛得叫出来。明白吗?”

“明白了,”温斯顿说。

奥勃良的态度不象以前严厉了。他沉思地端正了一下眼镜,踱了一两步。他再说话的时候,声音就很温和,有耐心。

他有了一种医生的、教员的、甚至牧师的神情,一心只想解释说服,不是惩罚。

“温斯顿,我为你操心,”他说,“是因为你值得操心。你很明白你的问题在哪里。你好多年以来就已很明白,只是你不肯承认而已。你的精神是错乱的。你的记忆力有缺陷。真正发生的事你不记得,你却使自己相信你记得那些从来没有发生过的事。幸而这是可以治疗的。但是你自己从来没有想法治疗过,因为你不愿意。这只需要意志上稍作努力,可是你就是不肯。即使现在,我也知道,你仍死抱住这个毛病不放,还以为这是美德。我们现在举一个例子来说明。我问你,眼前大洋国是在同哪个国家打仗?”

“我被逮捕的时候,大洋国是在同东亚国打仗。”

“东亚国。很好。大洋国一直在同东亚国打仗,是不是?”

温斯顿吸了一口气。他张开嘴巴要说话,但又没有说。

他的眼光离不开那仪表。

“要说真话,温斯顿。你的(Your)真话。把你以为你记得的告诉我。”

“我记得在我被捕前一个星期,我们还没有同东亚国打仗。我们当时同他们结着盟。战争的对象是欧亚国。前后打了四年。在这以前——”奥勃良的手摆动一下,叫他停止。

“再举一个例子,”他说,“几年以前,你发生了一次非常严重的幻觉。有三个人,三个以前的党员叫琼斯、阿隆逊和鲁瑟福的,在彻底招供以后按叛国罪处决,而你却以为他们并没有犯那控告他们的罪。你以为你看到过无可置疑的物证,可以证明他们的口供是假的。你当时有一种幻觉,以为看到了一张照片。你还以为你的手里真的握到过这张照片。

这是这样一张照片。”

奥勃良手指中间夹着一张剪报。它在温斯顿的视野里出现了大约五秒钟。这是一幅照片,至于它是什么照片,这是毫无问题的。它就是那张照片。这是琼斯、阿隆逊、鲁瑟福在纽约一次党的会议上的照片,十一年前他曾意外见到,随即销毁了的。它在他的眼前出现了一刹那,就又在他的视野中消失了。但是他已看到了,毫无疑问,他已看到了!他忍着剧痛拼命想坐了起来。但是不论朝什么方向,他连一毫米都动弹不得。这时他甚至忘掉了那个仪表了。他一心只想把那照片再拿在手中,至少再看一眼。

“它存在的!”他叫道。

“不,”奥勃良说。

他走到屋子那一头去。对面墙上有个忘怀洞。奥勃良揭起盖子。那张薄薄的纸片就在一阵热风中卷走了;在看不见的地方一燃而灭,化为灰烬。奥勃良从墙头那边转身回来。

“灰烬,”他说,“甚至是认不出来的灰烬,尘埃。它并不存在。它从来没有存在过。”

“但是它存在过!它确实存在!它存在记忆中。我记得它。你记得它。”

“我不记得它,”奥勃良说。

温斯顿的心一沉。那是双重思想.他感到一点也没有办法。如果他能够确定奥勃良是在说谎,这就无所谓了。但是完全有可能,奥勃良真的已忘记了那张照片。如果这样,那么他就已经忘记了他否认记得那张照片,忘记了忘记这一行为的本身。你怎么能确定这只不过是个小手法呢?也许头脑里真的会发生疯狂的错乱,使他绝望的就是这种思想。

奥勃良沉思地低着头看他。他比刚才更加象一个教师在想尽办法对付一个误入歧途但很有培养前途的孩子。

“党有一句关于控制过去的口号,”他说,“你再复述一遍。”

“‘谁能控制过去就控制未来;谁能控制现在就控制过去,’”温斯顿顺从地复述。

“‘谁能控制现在就控制过去’,”奥勃良说,一边慢慢地点着头表示赞许。“温斯顿,那末你是不是认为,过去是真正存在过的?”

温斯顿又感到一点也没有办法。他的眼光盯着仪表。他不仅不知道什么答复——“是”还是“不是”——能使他免除痛楚;他甚至不知道到底哪一个答复是正确的。

奥勃良微微笑道:“温斯顿,你不懂形而上学。到现在为止,你从来没有考虑过所谓存在是什么意思。我来说得更加确切些。过去是不是具体存在于空间里?是不是有个什么地方,一个有具体东西的世界里,过去仍在发生着?”

“没有。”

“那么过去到底存在于什么地方呢?”

“在纪录里。这是写了下来的。”

“在纪录里。还有——?”

“在头脑里。在人的记忆里。”

“在记忆里。那末,很好。我们,党,控制全部纪录,我们控制全部记忆。因此我们控制过去,是不是?”

“但是你怎么能教人不记得事情呢?”温斯顿叫道,又暂时忘记了仪表。“它是自发的。它独立于一个人之内。你怎么能够控制记忆呢?你就没有能控制我的记忆!”

奥勃良的态度又严厉起来了。他把手放在仪表上。

“恰恰相反,”他说,“你才没有控制你的记忆。因此把你带到这里来。你到这里来是因为你不自量力,不知自重。

你不愿为神志健全付出顺从的代价。你宁可做个疯子,光棍少数派。温斯顿,只有经过训练的头脑才能看清现实。你以为现实是某种客观的、外在的、独立存在的东西。你也以为现实的性质不言自明。你自欺欺人地认为你看到了什么东西,你以为别人也同你一样看到了同一个东西。但是我告诉你,温斯顿,现实不是外在的。现实存在于人的头脑中,不存在于任何其他地方。而且不存在于个人的头脑中,因为个人的头脑可能犯错误,而且反正很快就要死亡;现实只存在于党的头脑中,而党的头脑是集体的,不朽的。不论什么东西,党认为是真理就是真理。除了通过党的眼睛,是没有办法看到现实的。温斯顿,你得重新学习,这是事实。这需要自我毁灭,这是一种意志上的努力。你先要知道自卑,然后才能神志健全。”

他停了一会儿,好象要使对方深刻理解他说的话。

“你记得吗,”他继续说,“你在日记中写:‘所谓自由即可以说二加二等于四的自由’?”

“记得,”温斯顿说。

奥勃良举起他的左手,手背朝着温斯顿,大拇指缩在后面,四个手指伸开。

“我举的是几个手指,温斯顿?”

“四个。”

“如果党说不是四个而是五个——那么你说是多少?”

“四个。”

话还没有说完就是一阵剧痛。仪表上的指针转到了五十五。温斯顿全身汗如雨下。他的肺部吸进呼出空气都引起大声呻吟,即使咬紧牙关也压不住。奥勃良看着他,四个手指仍伸在那里。他把杠杆拉回来。不过剧痛只稍微减轻一些。

“几个手指,温斯顿?”

“四个。”

指针到了六十。

“几个手指,温斯顿?”

“四个!四个!我还能说什么?四个!”

指针一定又上升了,但是他没有去看它。他的眼前只见到那张粗犷的严厉的脸和四个手指。四个手指在他眼前象四根大柱,粗大,模糊,仿佛要抖动起来,但是毫无疑向地是四个。

“多少手指,温斯顿?”

“四个!快停下来,快停下来!你怎么能够这样继续下去?四个!四个!”

“多少手指,温斯顿?”

“五个!五个!五个!”

“不,温斯顿,这没有用。你在说谎。你仍认为是四个,到底多少?”

“四个!五个!四个!你爱说几个就是几个。只求你马上停下来,别再教我痛了!”

他猛的坐了起来,奥勃良的胳膊围着他的肩膀。他可能有一两秒钟昏了过去。把他身体绑住的带子放松了。他觉得很冷,禁不住打寒战,牙齿格格打颤,面颊上眼泪滚滚而下。他象个孩子似的抱着奥勃良,围着他肩膀上的粗壮胳膊使他感到出奇的舒服。他觉得奥勃良是他的保护人,痛楚是外来的,从别的来源来的,只有奥勃良才会救他免于痛楚。

“你学起来真慢,温斯顿,”奥勃良温和地说。

“我有什么办法?”他口齿不清地说,“我怎么能不看到眼前的东西呢?二加二等于四呀。”

“有时候是四,温斯顿。但有时候是五。有时候是三。

有时候三、四、五全是。你得再努力一些。要神志健全,不是容易的事。”

他把温斯顿放到床上躺下。温斯顿四肢上缚的带子又紧了,不过这次痛已减退,寒战也停止了,他只感到软弱无力,全身发冷。奥勃良点头向穿自大褂的一个人示意,那人刚才自始至终呆立不动,这时他弯下身来,仔细观看温斯顿的眼珠,试了他的脉搏,听了他的胸口,到处敲敲摸摸,然后向奥勃良点一点头。

“再来,”奥勃良说。

温斯顿全身一阵痛,那指针一定升高到了七十,七十五。这次他闭上了眼睛。他知道手指仍在那里,仍旧是四个。现在主要的是把痛熬过去。他不再注意到自己究竟是不是在哭。痛又减退了。他睁开眼睛。奥勃良把杠杆拉了回来。

“多少手指,温斯顿?”

“四个。我想是四个。只要能够,我很愿意看到五个。

我尽量想看到五个。”

“你究竟希望什么;是要我相信你看到五个,还是真正要看到五个?”

“真正要看到五个。”

“再来,”奥勃良说。

指针大概升到了八十——九十。温斯顿只能断断续续地记得为什么这么痛。在他的紧闭的眼皮后面,手指象森林一般,似乎在跳舞,进进出出,互相叠现。他想数一下,他也不记得为什么。他只知道要数清它们是不可能的,这是由于神秘地,四就是五,五就是四。痛又减退了。他睁开眼睛,发现看到的仍是原来的东西。无数的手指,象移动的树木,仍朝左右两个方向同时移动着,互相交叠。他又闭上了眼。

“我举起的有几个手指,温斯顿?”

“我不知道。我不知道。你再下去,就会把我痛死的。

四个,五个,六个——说老实话,我不知道。”

“好一些了,”奥勃良说。

一根针刺进了温斯顿的胳膊。就在这当儿,一阵舒服的暖意马上传遍了他的全身。痛楚已全都忘了。他睁开眼,感激地看着奥勃良。一看到他的粗犷的、皱纹很深的脸,那张丑陋但是聪明的脸,他的心感到一阵酸。要是他可以动弹,他就拿伸出手去,放在奥勃良的胳膊上。他从来没有象现在那样这么爱他,这不仅因为他停止了痛楚。归根结底,奥勃良是友是敌,这一点无关紧要的感觉又回来了。奥勃良是个可以同他谈心的人。也许,你与其受人爱,不如被人了解更好一些。奥勃良折磨他,快到了神经错乱的边缘,而且有一阵子几乎可以肯定要把他送了命。但这没有关系。按那种比友谊更深的意义来说,他们还是知己。反正有一个地方,虽然没有明说,他们可以碰头好好谈一谈。奥勃良低头看着他,他的表情说明,他的心里也有同样的想法。他开口说话时,用的是一种随和的聊天的腔调。

“你知道你身在什么地方吗,温斯顿?”他问道。

“我不知道。但我猜得出来。在友爱部。”

“你知道你在这里已有多久了吗?”

“我不知道。几天,几星期,几个月——我想已有几个月了。”

“你认为我们为什么把人带到这里来?”

“让他们招供。”

“不,不是这个原因。再试一试看。”

“惩罚他们。”

“不是!”奥勃良叫道。他的声音变得同平时不一样了,他的脸色突然严厉起来,十分激动。“不是!不光是要你们招供,也不光是要惩罚你们。你要我告诉你为什么把你们带到这里来吗?是为了给你们治病。是为了使你神志恢复健全!

温斯顿,你要知道,凡是我们带到这里来的人,没有一个不是治好走的。我们对你犯的那些愚蠢罪行并不感到兴趣。党对表面行为不感兴趣,我们关心的是思想。我们不单单要打败敌人,我们要改造他们。你懂得我的意思吗?”

他俯身望着温斯顿。因为离得很近,他的脸显得很大,从下面望上去,丑陋得怕人。此外,还充满了一种兴奋的表情,紧张得近乎疯狂。温斯顿的心又一沉。他恨不得钻到床底下去。他觉得奥勃良一时冲动之下很可能扳动杠杆。但是就在这个时候,奥勃良转过身去,踱了一两步,又继续说,不过不象刚才那么激动了:

“你首先要明白,在这个地方,不存在烈士殉难问题。

你一定读到过以前历史上的宗教迫害的事。在中世纪里,发生过宗教迫害。那是一场失败。它的目的只是要根除异端邪说,结果却巩固了异端邪说。它每烧死一个异端分子,就制造出几千个来。为什么?因为宗教迫害公开杀死敌人,在这些敌人还没有悔改的情况下就把他们杀死,因为他们不肯悔改而把他们杀死。他们所以被杀是因为他们不肯放弃他们的真正信仰。这样,一切光荣自然归于殉难者,一切羞耻自然归于烧死他们的迫害者。后来,在二十世纪,出现了集权主义者,就是这样叫他们的。他们是德国的纳粹分子和俄国的共党分子。俄国人迫害异端邪说比宗教迫害还残酷。他们自以为从过去的错误中汲取了教训;不过他们有一点是明白的,绝不能制造殉难烈士。他们在公审受害者之前,有意打垮他们的人格尊严。他们用严刑拷打,用单独禁闭,把他们折磨得成为匍匐求饶的可怜虫,什么罪名都愿意招认,辱骂自己,攻击别人来掩蔽自已。但是过了几年之后,这种事情又发生了。死去的人成了殉难的烈士,他们的可耻下场遗忘了。再问一遍为什么是这样?首先是因为他们的供词显然是逼出来的,是假的。我们不再犯这种错误。在这里招供的都是真的。我们想办法做到这些供词是真的。而且,尤其是,我们不让死者起来反对我们,你可别以为后代会给你昭雪沉冤。后代根本不会知道有你这样一个人。你在历史的长河中消失得一干二净。我们要把你化为气体,消失在太空之中。

你什么东西也没有留下:登记簿上没有你的名字,活人的头脑里没有你的记忆。不论过去和将来,你都给消灭掉了。你从来没有存在过。”

那么为什么要拷打我呢?温斯顿想,心里感到一阵怨恨。

奥勃良停下了步,好象温斯顿把这想法大声说了出来一样。

他的丑陋的大脸挪了近来,眼睛眯了一些。

“你在想,”他说,“既然我们要把你彻底消灭掉,使得不论你说的话或做的事再也无足轻重——既然这样,我们为什么还不厌其烦地要先拷问你?你是不是这样想?”

“是的,”温斯顿说。

奥勃良微微一笑道,“温斯顿,你是白玉上的瑕疵。你是必须擦去的污点。我刚才不是对你说过,我们同过去的迫害者不同吗?我们不满足于消极的服从,甚至最奴颜婶膝的服从都不要。你最后投降,要出于你自己的自由意志。我们并不因为异端分子抗拒我们才毁灭他;只要他抗拒一天,我们就不毁灭他。我们要改造他,争取他的内心,使他脱胎换骨。我们要把他的一切邪念和幻觉都统统烧掉;我们要把他争取到我们这一边来,不仅仅是在外表上,而且是在内心里真心诚意站到我们这一边来。我们在杀死他之前也要把他改造成为我们的人。我们不能容许世界上有一个地方,不论多么隐蔽,多么不发生作用,居然有一个错误思想存在。甚至在死的时候,我们也不容许有任何脱离正规的思想。在以前,异端分子走到火刑柱前去时仍是一个异端分子,宣扬他的异端邪说,为此而高兴若狂。甚至俄国清洗中的受害者在走上刑场挨枪弹之前,他的脑壳中也可以保有反叛思想。但是我们却要在粉碎那个脑壳之前把那脑袋改造完美。以前的专制暴政的告诫是‘你干不得’。集权主义的告诫是‘你得干’。我们则是‘你得是’。我们带到这里来的人没有一个敢站出来反对我们。每个人都洗得一干二净。甚至你相信是无辜的那三个可怜的卖国贼——琼斯、阿隆逊和鲁瑟福——我们最后也搞垮了他们。我亲身参加过对他们的拷问。我看到他们慢慢地软了下来,爬在地上,哀哭着求饶。我们拷问完毕时,他们已成了行尸走肉。除了后悔自己的错误和对老大哥的爱戴以外,他们什么也没有剩下了。看到他们怎样热爱他,真是很感动人。他们要求马上枪毙他们,可以在思想还仍清白纯洁的时候趁早死去。”

他的声音几乎有了一种梦境的味道。他的脸上仍有那种兴奋、热情得发疯的神情。温斯顿想,他这不是假装的;他不是伪君子;他相信自己说的每一句话。最使温斯顿不安的是,他意识到自己的智力的低下。他看着那粗笨然而文雅的身躯走来走去,时而进入时而退出他的视野里。奥勃良从各方面来说都是一个比他大的人。凡是他曾经想到过或者可能想到的念头,奥勃良无不都早巳想到过,研究过,批驳过了。他的头脑包含了温斯顿的头脑。但是既然这样,奥勃良怎么会是疯狂的呢?那么发疯的就一定是他,温斯顿自己了。奥勃良停下来,低头看他。他的声音又严厉起来了。

“别以为你能够救自己的命,温斯顿,不论你怎么彻底向我们投降。凡是走上歧途的人,没有一个人能幸免。即使我们决定让你寿终,你也永远逃不脱我们。在这里发生的事是永远的。你事先必须了解。我们要打垮你,打到无可挽回的地步。你碰到的事情,即使你活一千年,你也永远无法从中恢复过来。你不再可能有正常人的感情。你心里什么都成了死灰。你不再可能有爱情、友谊、生活的乐趣、欢笑、好奇、勇气、正直。你是空无所有。我们要把你挤空,然后再把我们自己填充你。”

他停下来,跟穿白大褂的打个招呼。温斯顿感到有一件很重的仪器放到了他的脑袋下面。奥勃良坐在床边,他的脸同温斯顿的脸一般高。

“三千,”他对温斯顿头上那个穿白大褂的说。

有两块稍微有些湿的软垫子夹上了温斯顿的太阳穴。他缩了一下,感到了一阵痛,那是一种不同的痛。奥勃良把一只手按在他的手上,叫他放心,几乎是很和善。

“这次不会有伤害的,”他说,“把眼睛盯着我。”

就在这个时候发生了一阵猛烈的爆炸,也可以说类似爆炸,但弄不清楚究竟有没有声音。肯定发出了一阵闪光,使人睁不开眼睛。温斯顿没有受到伤害,只是弄得精疲力尽。

他本来已经是仰卧在那里,但是他奇怪地觉得好象是给推到这个位置的。一种猛烈的无痛的打击,把他打翻在那里。他的脑袋里也有了什么变化。当他的瞳孔恢复视力时,他仍记得自己是谁,身在何处,也认得看着他的那张脸;但是不知在什么地方,总有一大片空白,好象他的脑子给挖掉了一大块。

“这不会长久,”奥勃良说,“看着我回答,大洋国同什么国家在打仗?”温斯顿想了一下。他知道大洋国是什么意思,也知道自己是大洋国的公民。他也记得欧亚国和东亚国。但谁同谁在打仗,他却不知道。事实上,他根本不知道在打仗。

“我记不得了。”

“大洋国在同东亚国打仗。你现在记得吗?”

“记得。”

“大洋国一直在同东亚国打仗。自从你生下来以后,自从党成立以来,自从有史以来,就一直不断地在打仗,总是同一场战争。你记得吗?”

“记得。”

“十一年以前,你造了一个关于三个因叛国而处死的人的神话。你硬说自己看到过一张能够证明他们无辜的纸片。

根本不存在这样的纸片。这是你造出来的,你后来就相信了它。你现在记得你当初造出这种想法的时候吧?”

“记得。”

“我现在把手举在你的面前。你看到五个手指。你记得吗?”

“记得。”

奥勃良举起左手的手指,大拇指藏在手掌后面。

“现在有五个手指。你看到五个手指吗?”

“是的。”

而且他的确在刹那间看到了,在他的脑海中的景象还没有改变之前看到了。他看到了五个手指,并没有畸形。接着一切恢复正常,原来的恐惧、仇恨、迷惑又袭上心来。但是有那么一个片刻——他也不知道多久,也许是三十秒钟——

的时间里,他神志非常清醒地感觉到,奥勃良的每一个新的提示都填补了一片空白,成为绝对的真理,只要有需要的话,二加二可以等于三,同等于五一样容易。奥勃良的手一放下,这就消失了,他虽不能恢复,但仍旧记得,就象你在以前很久的某个时候,事实上是个完全不同的人的时候,有个栩栩如生的经历,现在仍旧记得一样。

“你现在看到,”奥勃良说,“无论如何这是办得到的。”

“是的,”温斯顿说。

奥勃良带着满意的神情站了起来。温斯顿看到他的左边的那个穿白大褂的人打破了一只安瓿,把注射器的柱塞往回抽。奥勃良脸上露出微笑,转向温斯顿。他重新整了一整鼻梁上的眼镜,动作一如以往那样。

“你记得曾经在日记里写过,”他说,“不管我是友是敌,都无关重要,因为我至少是个能够了解你并且可以谈得来的人?你的话不错。我很喜欢同你谈话。你的头脑使我感到兴趣。它很象我自已的头脑,只不过你是精神失常的。在结束这次谈话之前,你如果愿意,可以向我提几个问题。”

“任何问题?”

“任何问题。”他看到温斯顿的眼光落在仪表上。“这已经关掉了。你的第一个问题是什么?”

“你们把裘莉亚怎样了?”温斯顿问。

奥勃良又微笑了。“她出卖了你,温斯顿。马上——毫无保留。我从来没有见到过有人这样快投过来的。你如再见到她,已很难认出来了。她的所有反叛精神、欺骗手法、愚蠢行为、肮脏思想——都已消失得一干二净。她得到了彻底的改造,完全符合课本的要求。”

“你们拷打了她。”

奥勃良对此不予置答。“下一个问题,”他说。

“老大哥存在吗?”

“当然存在。有党存在,就有老大哥存在,他是党的化身。”

“他也象我那样存在吗?”

“你不存在,”奥勃良说。

他又感到了一阵无可奈何的感觉袭心。他明白,也不难想象,那些能够证明自己不存在的论据是些什么;但是这些论据都是胡说八道,都是玩弄词句。“你不存在” 这句话不是包含着逻辑上的荒谬吗?但是这么说有什么用呢?他一想到奥勃良会用那些无法争辩的、疯狂的论据来驳斥他,心就感到一阵收缩。

“我认为我是存在的,”他懒懒地说,“我意识到我自己的存在。我生了下来,我还会死去。我有胳膊有腿。我占据一定的空间。没有别的实在东西能够同时占据我所占据的空间。在这个意义上,老大哥存在吗?”

“这无关重要。他存在。”

“老大哥会死吗?”

“当然不会。他怎么会死?下一个问题。”

“兄弟会存在吗?”

“这,温斯顿,你就永远不会知道。我们把你对付完了以后,如果放你出去,即使你活到九十岁,你也永远不会知道这个问题的答案是什么。只要你活一天,这个问题就—天是你心中没有解答的谜。”

温斯顿默然躺在那里。他的胸脯起伏比刚才快了一些。

他还没有提出他心中头一个想到的问题。他必须提出来,可是他的舌头好象说不出声来了。奥勃良的脸上出现了一丝笑意。甚至他的眼镜片似乎也有了嘲讽的色彩。温斯顿心里想,他很明白,他很明白我要问的是什么!想到这里,他的话就冲出口了。

“101号房里有什么?”

奥勃良脸上的表情没有变。他挖苦地回答:

“你知道101号房里有什么,温斯顿。人人都知道101号房里有什么。”,他向穿白大褂的举起一个手指。显然谈话结束了。一根针刺进了温斯顿的胳膊。他马上沉睡过去。

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